Why You Should Go to Mass on Summer Vacation

Why You Should Go to Mass on Summer Vacation July 11, 2022

I started writing back in 2004. I wrote for Lisa Hendey at Catholicmom.com from the start and still do from time to time, as part of this ministry of writing.  Last week, I was on vacation with my family and two pieces  ran that were part of my writing for others.  Life is Sacred   ran on July 7th.   Over at W.I.N.E –Women in the New Evangelization, on July 10th,  Go and Do Likewise  posted.

Going to mass while at the beach is tricky. You have to time when you go, so that you minimize objections based on “We’re at the beach!” or “We’re on vacation!” and, “The church is over an hour away!”  We worked it so mass was “en route,” with the lure of donuts in the car on our way home.   There were no objections.   What made mass so wonderful, was the experience of both the absolute universality and radical uniqueness of mass in a new place.   The church by the sea was packed, and the music both fantastic (in terms of skill level) and absurd.  The pianist played the opening hymn at 78 rpms and must have been accustomed to skilled singers (not us), as the offertory song in C minor.  A week of B-E-Ach living left us falling short of the three flats required.


What made the mass wonderful, was that because the liturgy remained the same, the differences were noticed.  My two high schoolers noticed the extra music.  They noticed the priest stuttered, and to accommodate his stammering, the pianist would sometimes provide musical cues which let the priest sing his response –and thus not stutter.  Other times, he did stutter, but that drew more attention to what he said, rather than the trial it was for him to say it.  I saw my children actively listening to the words because the man struggled for every one.

When we left, they commented on how good the homily was, on the mass and how much they loved that the whole community worked to support the priest as the priest supported them through his willing full participation in the mass, visible struggles and all.   I thought back to my own childhood and loving the masses at the church we had to drive to because the cantor sung so high, it struck me as both joyful and funny.   I could remember those masses, where we were in the pews, and the sounds of that church that were unique to that church even though I’d gone to mass at our home parish countless times.     Why should you go to the mass when you’re on vacation?  So you can participate in the universality of the Church, while celebrating the uniqueness not lost in that universality.   Who knows?  The Gospel they’ve heard countless times might this time, prick their ears and hearts because the other sounds are unfamiliar.

Begin again!


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